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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Arab Spring’

Why are Feminists Not Standing Up for Israel?

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

T.S. Eliot was wrong. March, not April, is the cruelest month. Certainly it is at New York University.  In the early days of the month a conference took place there on “Circuits of Influence: United State, Israel, and Palestine.”  The conference was organized by Lisa Duggan, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, whose academic fields at NYU are listed as lesbian and gay studies, and the history of gender and sexuality.

Professor Duggan is a gender scholar rather than a political scientist renowned for expertise in Middle East history and politics. She is presently president-elect of the American Studies Association (ASA) that on December 4, 2013 disgraced itself and the academic world by its ignorance, its bias, and its bigotry in calling for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The resolution of the ASA, by 66 per cent of voters, endorsed the Palestinian call for a boycott because of alleged denial of Palestinian basic rights by Israel. The resolution said nothing about the denial of women’s basic rights by Palestinians and other Arabs.

Professor Duggan’s invitation to the conference was ironic. It was sent only to selected recipients, and said, “Please do not post or circulate the flyer (about the conference). We are trying to avoid press, protestors, and publication.” It was ironic because the conference avoided confrontation by inviting only those who were not known for their pro-Israeli views.

The NYU meeting was not exactly secret, but it was a closed-door conference. To no great surprise, it coincided with the celebration of Israel Apartheid Week. It may perhaps have been described as a meeting discussing the Protocols of the Learned Leaders of the boycotters or the New York friends of the ASA.
It is not clear, though one can guess the reasons, why leaders of an association created to deal with American studies, and especially if they are most interested in women’s issues, make declarations on Middle Eastern affairs or why they are primarily or solely concerned with the State of Israel. One would have thought that Professor Duggan and other members of the ASA might be more properly concerned with the problems that women encounter in Arab Middle East societies, including that of Palestinian.

The nature of those problems is detailed in reports of NGO Monitor and various think tanks. Women in all the Middle East countries, except Israel, have few rights, and do not enjoy equality with men. The gender gap in those countries is among the highest in the world. Women are discriminated against in almost all relationships and activities, in marriage, divorce, child custody, and inheritance. They are restricted in movement, expression, and work opportunities. Women suffer from being forced into child marriage, female genital mutilation, and “honor” crimes, which may be punished by death.

Professor Duggan and her ASA colleagues must know that there has been no significant improvement in women’s lives in spite of the “Arab spring.” In most Arab countries women are marginalized; in Islamic societies they are repressed. She should know that the lack of freedom for women in all Middle East countries, except Israel, is a major problem in the world today. Have she and her colleagues in the ASA, reported on this? Are they so concerned with their ideological attack on Israel that they have no time or thought for the political and social freedom of women? Even though they are supposedly interested in American studies, why do the members of ASA not state clearly and unequivocally that women in the Arab world including the Palestinians should enjoy the same rights and opportunities as women in Israel?

Let’s deliver a clear message from the 1993 UN Vienna Declaration to Duggan and the ignorant and biased boycotters of Israel.  The Declaration called for the full and equal participation of women in political, civil, economic, social and cultural life, at all levels, and eradication of all forms of discrimination on grounds of sex.

It may well be, as the UN Arab Human Development report of 2005 said, that it is beyond the power and resources of women’s movements to affect the condition of women in the Middle East. But perhaps Duggan, with the support of other women in the ASA, might have organized a conference on the subject. She might have addressed the problem of why the 2011 departure of dictators in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, and Libya has not led to fundamental reforms for women.

The UN Arab Human Development Reports (AHDR), written by Arab scholars about conditions in the 22 member states of the Arab League, have recognized the major problem: the oppression of women. Women suffer from inequality with men and are vulnerable to discrimination in law and in practice.  The prevailing masculine culture and values view women as dependents of men.  Those AHDR reports clearly state the need for change: Arab societies must provide for the complete empowerment of Arab women. Specifically, they should deal with illiteracy (more than half of Arab women are illiterate), the low rate of education of women, maternal mortality, and the low participation of women in politics.

The statistics in the Global Gender Gap Index, compiled by the World Economic Forum, which measures gender-based disparities, confirms the AHDR conclusions. Of the 136 countries analyzed in terms of the access of women to education, political participation, economic opportunity, and health, the Arab countries come last. Political empowerment of women in Saudi Arabia and Qatar is listed as zero.

Gender-based discrimination exists in personal status laws which require permission of a male relative for marriage, favor husbands in divorce cases, give fathers the rights in child guardianship, restrict freedom of movement, make it difficult for women to get a passport, and deprive women of their proper inheritance. In the law courts the testimony of women is regarded as of less value than that of men in a number of countries. Dress codes for women are enforced by the religious police force.

Beyond all this legal and social inequality there is the matter of domestic violence against women. Rape is usually not seen as a criminal offense. Honor killings exist in many of the Arab societies, including that of the Palestinian Authority. It is legal for women to be beheaded, burnt alive, stoned, and tortured for “immoral” behavior such as adultery or having sexual relations with a non-Muslim man. They are also forbidden to marry non-Muslims. On the other hand, polygamy is legal in a number of Arab countries.

Given her scholarship on the history of sexuality, Professor Duggan must surely be familiar with the sad condition of women in all Middle East countries except Israel, where women have full social and political rights. Can we expect her as the leader of ASA, to organize a conference on that sad condition and to call for equality and justice for women in the Arab countries?  If not, she may be judged guilty of indifference to the problems of women.
Originally published at The American Thinker.

Worth Watching: ’1000 days in Syria’

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

I’m going to be honest.  I don’t agree with everything my old buddy Avi Lipkin is up to nowadays, but I think his “1000 days in Syria” talk is excellent and definitely something everyone should listen to.

Avi talks about the Arab spring, Syria and Hillary Clinton.


Peres Hoping for a Possible ‘Iranian Spring’ Rebellion

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

President Shimon Peres said on Thursday that he sees the possibility of an “Iranian Spring” rebellion that would upset the Iranian regime’s nuclear cart.

“Don’t underestimate the power and ability of the people,” the president said in an on-stage interview at The Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference.

Is it possible? Yes. Is it probable? Who knows?

But is it desirable?

The United States praised the new promised democracies in the Middle East as the Arab Spring rebellions swept from Tunisia throughout the region.

In every single case – Tunisia, Yemen, Libya, Egypt and Syria – a brutal dictatorship has been replaced by brutal anarchy, which only has made the entire region more unstable, unreliable and unpredictable.

But the Peres mentality is identical with his Nobel Peace Prize promoters in the U.S. State Dept., where its experts have doctorate degrees on the Middle East and Islam but don’t know hummus from techina.

The United States was hopeful for an “Iranian Spring” under the Ahmadinejad regime in 2009 and 2010. His goon squads put out the fires.

The Obama administration welcomed the Arab Spring rebellion in Egypt, ushered out Mubarak and now is without a reliable voice in Cairo, which is trying to climb the slippery slope of bankruptcy under a military regime that knows an election now would result in more chaos and violence.

Libya, where the United States thought it was saving the country from Qaddafi, is facing civil war.

Both Al Jazeera and The Huffington Post on Thursday ran an analysis that, in brief, stated that the country is flooded with weapons and rival tribes that are not far away from turning into chaos – again.

For Peres’ short memory, two years ago plus one day, the Libyan National Transitional Council declared “the liberation of Libya” after the civil war in which Qaddafi was killed a few days later.

Ostensibly, the United States did not intervene in Egypt or Syria as it did in Libya. Instead, the Obama administration has encouraged upheaval in the name of democracy and has received anarchy in the name of upheaval.

Israel was much better off with Mubarak and still is better off with Assad. “Better the enemy you know than the one you don’t know.”

Assad, for all his threats and demands of Israel, never has been a direct threat. Unlike Jordan and Egypt, there is no “peace treaty” to fret over.

Peres’ concern on Iran, of course, is focused on the threat of nuclear weapons.

If there were to be an Iranian Spring, not even President Peres – Mr. Optimism – knows if it would be for the better or the worse, and it would not necessarily spell the end of a nuclear Iran.

Forcing change is risky in the Middle East.

Does Peres remember what happened in Iraq?

Remember Gen. “Stormin’ Norman Schwarzkopf? He commanded a typically American “victory” in the 2001 Gulf War, carrying out a textbook offensive to crush Saddam Hussein’s war machine, declare victory and return as a war hero.

If President Peres reads the right newspapers, he knows that Iraq is plagued by suicide bombings and terrorist attacks almost every day.

The United States may have won the war, but it lost Iraq. For more on that, read what The Jewish Press’ Yori Yanover wrote here.

The aftershocks of the war were the same as those after the Arab Spring rebellions.

Mr. President, are you sure you want another one?

Syrian Mine Blows Up Minibus; Women and Children among 21 Dead

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

A mine explosion as a minibus drove by on Wednesday killed 21 people, including women and children, near the birthplace of the Arab Spring revolution against the Assad regime more than three years ago.

Four children and six women were among the victims in the city of Noa in the Deraa province, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Activists for the opposition said the vehicle ran over a mine in the rebel-held territory, not far from a base of soldiers loyal to Syrian President Bassar al-Assad.

Clashes continued to Wednesday despite pleas from the Arab League and Muslim groups for a temporary ceasefire during the current Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. Between 27 and more than 55 soldiers, depending on which report can be believed, were killed by rebels the past two days.

Obama Tries to Buy Democracy in Egypt with Cut in Military Aid

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

The Obama administration is cutting back military aid to Egypt in another effort to force democracy on a Muslim country that has become more unstable and violent with every American move to prove to Egyptians it knows what is best for them.

U.S. State Dept. assistant spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters Wednesday, “The President has…been clear that we are not able to continue to with business [with Egypt] as usual. As you know, we have already announced that we are not proceeding with the delivery of certain military systems… We will continue to support a democratic transition and oppose violence as a means of resolving differences in Egypt.”

The American government is suspending shipments of F-16 warplanes, Apache helicopters, 1,000 M1 tanks, spare parts needed for maintenance and missiles, among other items.

The cut in aid is “pending credible progress toward an inclusive, democratically elected civilian government through free and fair elections,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

The last time the United States tried that game, it resulted in the election of the Muslim Brotherhood government. One year later, the Obama administration saw its game plan went awry, and it backed the ouster of the democratically-elected government.

In other words, it wants the Egyptian military regime to get off its horse and take another crack at corrupting Islam with democratic elections.

If “corrupt” sounds too harsh, here is what former Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin (Fuad) Ben-Eliezer, born and raised in Iraq and a lot more in tune with the Arabic mentality that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and a long line of “have a nice day” predecessors.

He told Voice of Israel radio the Americans do not understand that democracy contradicts Islamic law.

But the Obama administration insists on forcing a round pole into a square hole.

Mubarak was an autocrat and a dear friend of several U.S. governments, but when the Arab Spring rebellion brought out the worst of Mubarak, with nearly 1,000 Egyptians brutally killed, the Obama administration jumped on the anarchists’ bandwagon and encouraged his overthrow.

Once it appeared the radical Muslim Brotherhood would be a dominant force, it did somersaults away from a strong policy of staying clear of the Brotherhood and instead began embracing it, despite its open anti-American and anti-Israel agenda.

The White House and Foggy Bottom congratulated the Muslim Brotherhood on winning the elections because it was a victory for democracy.

The rest is history. After one year, the Brotherhood proved just as corrupt and brutal as Mubarak, but politically ignorant.

So the Obama administration decided that democracy is not such a great idea when radical Muslims win.

Out goes the Muslim Brotherhood and in its place comes a “temporary” military regime, desperately trying to save Egypt from bankruptcy and from Hamas and Al Qaeda terrorists and  a few other fanatical groups vying for 72 virgins.

But the military regime was not very polite to the Brotherhood and brutally killed protesters. That is what Mubarak did. That is what the Brotherhood did. It seems that is the way things run in Egypt.

But Washington knows better and now is holding back some military aid, which will make it even harder for the regime to combat terrorists, such as those who killed four Egyptian soldiers Thursday morning in a car bomb explosion in the Sinai.

“We’ll see, next time, when a U.S. aircraft carrier wants to go through the Suez Canal, whether it goes to the front of the line,”  David Schenker, director of the Arab politics program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told Bloomberg News Wednesday He added that  Egyptians “do a lot of things that are very helpful to us and they can be less helpful.”

The American government has thrown itself in a corner with a law that requires the suspension of aid to countries where there has been a coup d’etat, which the administration refuses to admit occurred in Egypt.

Despite the new suspension in military aid, the United States still is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into Egypt.

Paul Gamble, Director of the Africa & Middle East team of Fitch’s Sovereign Ratings Group, told Asharq Al-Awsat. “This does not mean any less money is going to the Egyptian economy, so it really does not have an impact. It’s more a political gesture.”

Numerous Reasons for Fear, One Reason for Joy this New Year

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Amalek, Torah, Moses, Egypt, Hamas, Taliban, terrorists,Israel marks on the Sabbath the 40th year of the Yom Kippur War that nearly destroyed the country. Today, being the island in a sea of Arab storms threatens the country no less, but slowly, slowly, the Big Lies of evil are crumbling at Israel’s feet.

If the “peace process” and existential threats of Syrian President Bassar al-Assad and the Iranian regime and their Russian sponsors are a measure, Israel can start saying the Kaddish mourning prayer for itself.

President Barack Obama is dead set to shrink Israel to what former Israeli Ambassador Abba Eban, far from a right-wing hawk, called the “Auschwitz borders” that existed from 1949 until 1967.

Obama is only the latest, if not the last, American president to interpret the Middle East through the eyes of the Arab world, which not coincidentally is an oil-rich world.

Israel no longer can depend on logic. Explaining why it is not an ‘occupier” is an exercise of the frustration of an idiot. Exposing Palestinian Authority incitement and highlighting Arab terror simply encourages the one-line mind that Israel has brought its woes on itself.

No matter what the Obama administration says, its actions, and those of every American government the past decades, have forgiven the Palestinian Authority for every violation of the Oslo Accords while demanding that Israel live up to every word and letter.

Foreign media have swallowed hook, line and sinker the Arab world argument that “settlements” are an obstacle to peace, and nothing will change that fallacy,

Except the truth.

Israel’s real strength is rooted in the Torah. In the Sinai desert, where Amalek preceded Hamas , Moses led the people around its enemies instead of fighting them, unless attacked first.

The anti-Semitic Big Lie is inherent in foreign governments and foreign media. It was inherent in the media during the Holocaust, which was ignored as much as possible until the truth defeated evil, all too late for 6,000,000 Jews.

The Big lie has been crumbling, and the media, slowly but surely, have no choice other than giving up the anti-Zionist fight.

Neither The New York Times, nor CNN, nor the U.S. State Dept. will admit they were wrong. Like old generals, they simply will fade away.

The Big Lie began crumbling years ago, at least as far back as Israel’s middle-of-the-night flight from the Security Zone in southern Lebanon, but it took the 2005 expulsion of Jews and the withdrawal of the IDF from Gaza to wake up the world out of its peace and love slumber.

When Hamas attacked southern Israel with rockets immediately after the Sharon government destroyed the lives of 9,000 innocent Jews, President Shimon Peres, Israel’s eternal Minister of Peace, actually said out loud he simply cannot understand why Hamas would do such a thing after Israel was so nice.

When the Palestinian Authority staged its first and, until now, its last democratic election, Hamas won. Condoleezza Rice who then was Secretary of State, simply could not believe that Arabs would democratically vote for anti-democrats. The State Dept. did not and still does not understand that Arabs will accept democracy only if it is a means towards destroying Israel. Otherwise, it is useless to them.

The Big Lie crumbled in Iraq but it took the war in Afghanistan to wake up the American people. A war weary United States is preparing to leave Afghanistan in the hands of a government that operates in the shadow of Taliban. In the Gulf War in 1991, the U.S. Army won the battle and defeated Saddam Hussein, but it lost the war. Suicide bombings are weekly events in Iraq today. The government is a shell that does not even thinly disguise growing anarchy. Good luck, Afghanistan, on your inheritance from Washington.

The Big Lie of the romantic Arab Spring rebellion for freedom, by Western standards, crumbled in Egypt, and it has collapsed in Syria.

“Freedom” for Islamists is the right to end freedom for others.

The cheers for the Muslim Brotherhood, after the “despot” Mubarak was deposed, turned out to be jeers after it was clear that the Brotherhood is no less despotic. And the military regime is no better.

Syria would be a laughable situation if it were not for the fact that it is not funny when hundreds of thousands of people are killed indiscriminately, starved, tortured, and gassed. Lest anyone forget, the Obama administration, and Kerry when he was a senator in the Bush administration, “engaged” Assad. So much for their choice of marriage partners.

Why US Policy Betrayed the Moderates

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

In 1848, the new Communist movement issued a manifesto. It began with the opening line:

“A specter is haunting Europe—the specter of Communism.”

For our purposes today, this threat might be reworded as:

“A specter is haunting the Middle East—the specter of America.”

For example, about a year ago Dubai’s police chief addressed a major international Gulf Arab security conference. He said that there were about three dozen security threats to the Gulf Arab countries. But this well-respected security expert said the number-one threat was the United States.

Since that time, this American specter has become vivid. For instance, The New York Times had a recent editorial which stated that the only protection for Egypt’s democracy–meaning Muslim Brotherhood participation in the next Egyptian government–was the United States and Europe. The Egyptian regime, Israel, and Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arab states were bad for wanting to protect their societies from Islamic ideology, revolution, and anti-Western Sharia states!

Might the United States and its allies rather be expected to battle Turkey, Iran, Hamas, Hizballah, Tunisia, Bahrain, and Hamas or otherwise might it support Islamists while Saudi Arabia fought Europe’s and America’s response as too soft on Hizballah?

But what if a crazy notion seizes policymakers, blessed with the mush of ignorance about the Middle East, that they can take control of the troublemakers? Perhaps Germany (World War One and Two jihads), or the Soviet control of radical nationalist regimes in the 1950s and 1960, or the French rescue of the Palestinian leadership in the late 1940s, or Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Iran during the 1970s, or America in the 1950s (Arab nationalism), or the 2010 Muslim Brotherhood would turn nominal extremists into friends?

Imagine, dunderheads in Washington, London, Paris, and so on thinking they are masterfully preserving stability, making peace, and harnessing Sharia in the cause of boosting democracy!

How smug would be the smiles when those who perpetrated September 11, 2001, were supposedly defeated by those mentored into power a decade later by the West in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, or in the Arab Spring or the Syrian revolution!

Look at it through the eyes of the Arabs, Iranians, Turks, Kurds, and Israelis who think they will try to impose a new order the region?

Consider a famous speech by Winston Churchill at Fulton, Missouri, on March 5, 1946. In contrast to the Communist Manifesto,100 years later, Churchill began, “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an Iron Curtain is descended across the continent.” It might be strange that these two statements are compared to the current situation in the Middle East. But actually, they make a lot of sense.

The intention of great powers seemed to impose one (European) system on the region. In the first case, it was Communism. In Churchill’s case, it was anti-Communism he advocated, which in parallel would be Anti-Islamism.

But today, what is the system that Arabs, Iranians, Turks, and Israelis think they will try to impose on the region? The answer for those who have been watching in recent years is revolutionary Islamism.

It might seem strange that this is the thinking, but it isn’t. The question is whether there is a system that Western Europeans want to impose. And the answer is that to the Arabs and others in the region–although this does not mean it has to be true–since the 1979 Iranian revolution, they have supported radical Islamism. In fact, it should be understood that after the Arab Spring, Arabs did not generally identify Western interests with support for moderate democracy, but with support for Islamism.

Incidentally, Churchill’s title was the Sinews of Strength, and he favored policy leading a coalition of the Free world which would be welcome today.

To summarize, in the 1930s, Churchill favored anti-fascism and advocated a united front against Nazi Germany. After World War Two, he supported an alliance of the Free World against the Iron Curtain.

Where is the Churchill of today?

Well, directly his bust was quickly chucked from the White House because he was the symbol for Obama of Western colonialism.

Who was the genuine symbol of anti-colonialism for Obama? The left wing anti-Western revolutionary ideological movement represented by the Muslim Brotherhood or Chavez, and other demagogues.

Egypt: This Is Big

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

One way to gauge the import of the conflict erupting in Egypt is by looking at the character of media coverage in America.  Both sides of the political spectrum have been slow to advance narratives of blame.  What’s going on in Egypt doesn’t fit into any pat, off-the-shelf narratives.

There has been a curious absence of “themage” on the left: no unified narrative about this all being the fault of Bush-era failures of good fellowship, or of the plight of the Palestinians, or (my personal favorite) of warmongering arms dealers, oil mavens, or ([insert ROTFLOL here]) international banks.

Meanwhile, blame-fixing criticisms of President Obama are getting little traction on the right.  (I even saw Sean Hannity shouted down by other conservatives the other day, when he was advancing an Obama’s-to-blame theory.)  I have the sense that most on the right see – accurately – that what’s going on is bigger than either Obama’s shortcomings or America’s predicament under his leadership.  While the Arab Spring might well have never happened if the United States had had a different president in January 2011, it is more than overstating the case to say that it happened because of Obama.

It happened because of deep rifts and discontents in the Arab world.  Its progress since the initial trigger event has been shaped to some degree by the defensively triangulating inaction (mainly) of Obama’s America.  But there’s real there there, in terms of political divisions and conflict in the nations of the Middle East.

This is a genuine fight, not a series of mass protests out of which nothing will really change.  If we understand anything, it must be that.  The Western media have been reflexively – if perfunctorily – reporting the bloodshed in Egypt as a “military crack-down” on protesters.  But the truth is that, where military action is concerned, it is a strategy to get out ahead of civil war.  The Muslim Brotherhood has indicated that it intends to make a fight of this.  Its “protest camps” are not a stupid, time-on-their-hands Occupy Cairo escapade; they are bases from which to keep an armed fight going.

The Muslim Brotherhood does not care what happens to the people of Egypt: whether their streets become safe for daily life and commerce again.  It is willing to keep chaos and misery going for as long as necessary to topple the military’s interim government.  That is its present purpose.  The Muslim Brotherhood strategy is to make it impossible for the military to restore enough order and public confidence to move ahead with new democratic arrangements.  The strategy is pure Bolshevism, and we’ve seen it before, dozens of times over the last several centuries.

Reports from Friday’s fighting indicate that plenty of Egyptians are aware of this.  Citizens around the capital set up checkpoints to prevent the movement of Muslim Brotherhood formations:

Armed civilians manned impromptu checkpoints throughout the capital, banning Brotherhood marches from approaching and frisking anyone wanting to pass through. At one, residents barred ambulances and cars carrying wounded from Cairo’s main battleground, Ramses Square, from reaching a hospital.

And much of the fighting was between pro-Morsi supporters and other civilians:

Friday’s violence introduced a combustible new mix, with residents and police in civilian clothing battling those participating in the Brotherhood-led marches.

Few police in uniform were seen as neighborhood watchdogs and pro-Morsi protesters fired at one another for hours on a bridge that crosses over Cairo’s Zamalek district, an upscale island neighborhood where many foreigners and ambassadors reside.

In keeping with the astonishing mass scale of the national revulsion against Morsi’s rule in June and July, the current fight is developing as a popular one.  The anti-Morsi citizens have no intention of waiting around to see their government fall back into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood.  They are taking to the streets themselves.

This will have to be remembered in the coming days, when poorly armed civilians inevitably begin dropping out of the fight.  The civil population does care, and care enough to fight with sticks, stones, and fists, if necessary, even though It will take the military to put down the Muslim Brotherhood decisively – if, indeed, the outcome ends up being defined in that manner.

It may not be.  A key organizing factor in the June and July civil protests against Morsi was the “Tamarod” movement, a pastiche of anti-Morsi forces with little to unify them other than their objection to Morsi’s rule.  Some throwing in with Tamarod are Salafists themselves (including a former leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad); others bring some element of liberalization or secularism.  They made common cause with the military during the coup in July, but they are hardly a moderate, liberal, pro-Western force; in the days since, they have called for expulsion of the U.S. ambassador, and for Egypt to withdraw from the 1979 treaty with Israel.

Tamarod movements are busting out all over the Arab world (e.g., in Tunisia, Morocco, and Bahrain), portending many more months of instability and a long fight for the futures of these and other nations.  A movement with this much internal division to it will begin to splinter in Egypt: some of its members will want to take the lead in forging a new ruling consensus – specifically, in preempting the people to do so – and my bet for this is on the Salafists.

So there are more than two factions in the overall fight; this won’t come down to just the military and the Muslim Brotherhood.  Whoever plays the spoiler role could put together some kind of modus vivendi linking the opposing factions.  A little bit of gesturing toward civil protections for the people; a little bit of door left open to shari’a.  It wouldn’t last long, if history is any kind of guide.  But Western observers are likely to put stock in it (and even be hoodwinked by it).

Today’s fight may not go the full fifteen rounds, but if it doesn’t, it will have to be fought again down the road.  Because there is no coexistence for soft despotism – or democracy-lite – and Islamism; there is no coexistence for anything else and Islamism.  And Islamism won’t stop fighting until it is put down decisively.

It is not actually unusual for the governments and media of the West to misread developments like these (or at least to have the “deer in the headlights” look on their faces as they witness them).  The last time there was comparative unity and accuracy of understanding about a Bolshevik moment was – well, the actual Bolshevik moment, in late 1917 and the few years following it, when Western governments sought briefly to support the White anti-Bolshevists.  Whatever the merits of that policy, the understanding on which it was based was perfectly accurate.  Bolshevism was an uncontainable threat.

Within a very few years after that, Western governments, and many in our media, had become invested in misreading or ignoring manifestations from the sanguinary arena of collectivist statism.  We were quite tolerant of Mussolini and Hitler until they declared war on Stalin, and to this day, tendentious narratives of popular support are adduced in our academies to explain the advance of Marxist totalitarianism across the map of the globe through the late 1970s.  There were major movements in the free world to define away the threat of communism incident not only to Stalin’s excesses but to Maoism in China, the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam, the encroachments of Marxism on Latin America and Africa, and the standoff between East and West in Europe.

Throughout the 20th century, the bloody adventures of collectivism forced Westerners, and Americans in particular, to inspect and crystallize our view of who and what we were.  Through the “progressive,” statist movements in our own nations, we ended up being transformed away from the character we had once sought to honor and cultivate.  Yet for a time, in the late 1970s (with the election of Margaret Thatcher in the UK) and 1980s, we achieved a meaningful consensus that our liberal values had not been extinguished yet.  Acting on that consensus turned out to be enough, in that time and place, to overwhelm the failed ideology of Marxist socialism, in its totalitarian-state manifestation.

State-Islamism is doomed to inflict self-destruction and despair on its victims.  But what will we in the still-not-Islamist West do while it is organizing itself and launching its career?  We can’t go out and try to run everyone else’s county for him, after all.  And that said, we need not actively support the infliction of despotic Islamism on foreign populations.

How will we define ourselves during this process?  Will it be Islamism that has the momentum, with us defining ourselves as what we are not, in relation to it?  Or will we retake the public dialogue with our own propositions and language about liberty and limited government?  Our success in that endeavor was intermittent and incomplete, to say the least, during the Cold War.  Will we learn from that era and do better today?

Will we retain the capacity – always under attack, always fighting for its life – to define a totalitarian ideology truthfully, and let that truth be a guide to our policies?  These are questions to which we simply don’t know the answer.  There were days during the Cold War when even the most optimistic political observers would have answered them for us in the negative.

One thing we can be sure of, however – a thing we may see more clearly, I think, because we have the president we have today, and not a president who will act in a more traditional manner, according to the conventions of American statecraft.  The developments in Egypt have importance for the entire world.  They are about an ideological, Bolshevik-style assault on conventional, non-radicalized government.  That is the dynamic in play.  And, as much as they are about Egypt, the Egyptian people, and the fact that they do not want ideological “shari’a” rule, they are also, in an existential way, about us.  They are about who we are, and who we intend to be.  None of us will be the same when this is all over.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/j-e-dyer/egypt-this-is-big/2013/08/18/

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